then the king commanded ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the chaldeans. the king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. they were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. among these were daniel, hananiah, mishael, and azariah of the tribe of judah. and the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: daniel he called belteshazzar, hananiah he called shadrach, mishael he called meshach, and azariah he called abednego. [daniel 1:3-7]


after “the Lord gave” judah into the hands of babylon, the king of babylon began to make strategic moves to absorb the culture and people of judah into babylon.

God gave the country of his people over to their oppressors because of their rebellion to God. God allowed all their suffering and all the attacks on their way of life and faith as a point of discipline. but, he did not want and would not allow his relationship and his ways to be obliterated from all his people. the Lord always keeps a remnant alive and calls that remnant to holiness, to pursue him, and to trust that he will sustain them in the midst of trial.

there is no way the people of judah could fully understand what God was doing in his discipline. most could not see clearly because of their rebellion. but even those like daniel and his friends who seem to have been walking in more obedience could not have known all that God was up to as they were being kidnapped and taken to babylon.


they lost their home, their family, their way of life, and even their names.

their loss was great.

their suffering was great.

their lives were a shell of what they had been.


but God had not forgot them.

the Lord was with them. and as we will see throughout this story, even in the midst of our most difficult moment, God is still calling us to himself and to holiness.


one can only imagine what daniel and his friends were thinking – “where is our God?”

i can only what some think when their loss is great – “where are you God?”


daniel and his friends loss much but would rest all their hope on God.

if you have lost much, where will you rest your hope today?

if you have a loved one who has lost much, where will you rest your hope for them today?

if you know someone who is in the midst of much loss, what hope will you speak to them today?



turn our hearts to you today – for our friend, for our loved one, for ourselves. fill us with hope that you are with us and with those we love and care for. help us live in hope, speak hope, and give hope – the hope of Jesus. fill us with your hope oh LORD.

may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. [may 15:13]


~ john ryan